Missouri State Dominant in Conference Opener, Win 2-0.
Oct. 5, 2013
Springfield, MO – The Missouri State men’s soccer team (5-3-1) earned a home shutout Saturday night to defeat Loyola Chicago (3-6-0) in the first conference game of the season for both schools.
The Bears opened the game strong, keeping the majority of the possession throughout the first half.
“We decided the way to beat them was keeping the ball moving,” said junior Jack Roberts, who scored the second goal for the Bears. “It is something that as a team we want to do anyways. We want to play a good style of game and possession is key.”
In the 27th minute, Missouri State earned a free kick from a foul about 25 yards out. The Bears have proved to be effective on set pieces this season, and the confidence freshman Phil Woods displayed on his approach over the ball was evident. Woods, who had assisted on a pair of goals earlier in the year, struck the ball this time with the intention of scoring. The Gloucestershire, England native buried the free kick in the top of the goal, past the extended fingertips of the goalkeeper.
“Yeah, I’ve been working on my free kicks, but our defenders have been working on their body shape, working on getting the ball out. Just as much as a free kick counts their work always counts,” said Woods. “As a team we really came together today, and being pushed ahead by the crowd is really nice.”
The Bears all acknowledged the strength and support of the home crowd. Drums, chants, and overall noise could be heard throughout campus, despite the chilly evening.
Plaster Sports Complex really became electric on the second goal scored by MSU. Jared Gain played a rolling ball to a running Jack Roberts at the top of the box. Roberts then was able to chip the ball to himself, passing a defender, and blast the ball past the keeper from about the 6-yard box.
“As a team we’ve been focusing on attacking a lot more, and tonight it was evident,” said Roberts.
The Missouri Valley’s active leader in conference wins, Jon Leamy, recognized the importance of starting the conference schedule with a win.”
“We worked on keeping the ball this week, pushing a little bit higher and finishing, getting that goal. It was great to see the boys put two in and earn these three points in the conference on a shutout,” said Leamy. He also recognized the great atmosphere at the game, “The crowd meant everything to us. It drove this team home.”
The Bears host Belmont on Tuesday night at Plaster Field at 7:00, before continuing the conference schedule at Drake on October 12th.